Sacrifice and Its Discontents PDF ePub eBook

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Sacrifice and Its Discontents free pdf This project examines the role of sacrifice in twentieth-century environmental writing, a recurring figure that has been much celebrated and sometimes maligned but never critically studied. Calls for individuals to give up high standards of living abound in discussions of ecological sustainability: consume less, live simply, go back to the land, and environmental problems from aquifer depletion to air pollution and global climate change will be mitigated. While eco-critics tend to understand this story in realist terms, as an ethico-political model for readers to emulate, this dissertation studies writers for whom it represents a troubling paradox rather than a straightforward solution. In the works I discuss, the impulse to sacrifice is wrapped up in the desire to escape the ruinous entanglements of modernity and to rehabilitate a more "natural" way of life, yet attempts to create pastoral spaces at a remove from modernization processes subtly betray themselves. Willa Cather's simple-lifers enjoy blissful communion with nature but occupy their texts as ineffectual ghosts from a bygone era. Marge Piercy's and Ursula Le Guin's eco-utopias attain the appearance of primitivist sustainability only by concealing their reliance on sophisticated technologies and disciplinary institutions. Richard Powers' ecocritics are selfless martyrs and his eco-activists, stereotypes of themselves, predictable and redundant. In nonfiction texts, such as nature writing, activist blogs, and "green" consumer guides, social- or self-denial continues to appear ambivalently, failing outright or leading to unexpected excesses. My object is to show that these failures are far from unproductive. In these environmental literary works, performances of sacrifice are bound up with an unresolved tension---the tension between the instinct to flee from modernity and the tacit recognition that environmental ethics must negotiate with its contemporary social, political, and economic structures. I argue that, while ostensibly oriented toward an idealized, simpler past, these works gesture toward sacrifice's undoing, inchoately rethinking the traditional antagonism between environmentalism and modern life. This dissertation makes the case that literature has a crucial contribution to make to the imagination of ecological modernities---or, nonprimitive sustainability---a concept that has been defined, until now, by industry and the social and natural sciences.

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Details Book

Author : Christine Nadir
Publisher : Proquest, Umi Dissertation Publishing
Data Published : 01 September 2011
ISBN : 1244081469
EAN : 9781244081468
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 270 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
Rating :

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